“Orient Express” Loses Steam

Our Rating

7 Our Score

Collin Anderson/News Editor

Murder on the Orient Express is a very well-done film adaptation of the famous novel by Agatha Christie that ends in the most anticlimactic way.

The movie starts in Jerusalem in 1934 and follows the story of world-famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh). On the boat out of Jerusalem and into Istanbul, Poirot meets Dr. Arbuthnot (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Miss Mary Debenham (Daisy Ridley). While boarding the Orient Express at the Istanbul train station, the rest of the characters are introduced including businessman Edward Ratchett (Johnny Depp), missionary Pilar Estravados (Penélope Cruz), and Princess Dragomiroff (Judi Dench).

In the middle of the night, Poirot hears a scream in the cabin next to his. The conductor knocks on the door and asks if everything is alright. In French, someone responds, “It’s nothing.” Shortly after, the train is making its way through the mountains during a storm when it is halted by an avalanche blocking the rest of the track. In the morning, it is learned that one of the characters was murdered in the middle of the night. Poirot is asked to help solve the case, to which he reluctantly agrees. The rest of the movie is best described as the board game Clue, but it takes place on a train.

The film is interesting and full of plot twists, which is upsetting considering it is all wasted in the end. The last 20 minutes are the greatest letdown of the movie. Like the train, the movie comes to a screeching halt when the murderer is revealed. A star-studded cast can only carry a movie so far.

This movie is full of symbolism, especially in the biblical sense which is evident in the last scene. Kenneth Branagh is no stranger to directing with two of his most famous works being Thor and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. That being said, Murder on the Orient Express seems like it was directed by Wes Anderson and not by Branagh. The style of dialogue, camera angles, colors, and comic relief is reminiscent of The Grand Budapest Hotel or Moonrise Kingdom.

With finals nearing and students graduating, this movie is the perfect reminder that it is always essential to sprint through the finish line or have all of your hard work get derailed.